Future of Affiliate – AvantLink / JEBCommerce / ShopStyle and Vegas Baby!

Earlier this week I wrote about some of the things we discussed at AvantLink’s Future of Affiliate networking event in Vegas this past February.  One of my biggest joys is meeting amazing people in our space and spending some time getting to know them and what they do, where they’ve been and how they got where they are.  This was one of those nights and Scott, Chad, Minh-Khue, as well as the rest of the AvantLink team, definitely fit the bill.  I had a great time and I even got to meet Pete Rose!  Being from Philly, I’ll always remember him on the Phillies.  All around a great night.

One of the questions of the night was:  What are the largest, most immediate opportunities that online retailers can take advantage of in the affiliate channel this year?

For me, that would be profitable sales through multi-touch attribution.  

Omni Channel attribution is probably the most significant thing that will affect the affiliate channel in the years to come.  Being able to track and pay on the customer’s path to purchase not simply the last click.  Is last click attribution dead, no.  But it is not feeling very well right now at all.  Sophistication in evaluating successes of different marketing channels, including affiliates, is going to result in more efficient deployment of resources and budget and ultimately will yield higher profits and higher new customer acquisition percentages.  

Agencies have an opportunity as well.  Agencies need to be able to evaluate technology that makes this happen, adapt to limited information from advertisers, develop strategies and tools to acquire the type of sales at the optimal spot in the customers journey and be able to communicate these changes to affiliates in a way that keeps them motivated to produce.  Affiliate agencies can be a huge driver of this more efficient way to measure success in an omni channel environment.

We’ve been speaking a lot about this recently.  It all started for me back in 2001 when we adopted a “lumberjack” methodology to multi-channel attribution.  (An order was a log, chopped up into sections depending on what channel it touched, hence the name Lumberjack).  But now affiliate networks are providing amazing technology to equip this channel such as LinkShare, AvantLink, ShareASale and AffiliateWindow.  The tech is there, now we just have to be smart at how we are using it.

We’ll be writing more about this in the weeks and moths to come.

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